Program helps teachers learn to teach math and scienceby tcguestblogger on Jul. 27, 2011, under Life
With the landing of the Space Shuttle Atlantis, many Americans are feeling a sense of loss. Some may say that the pride of the American Space Program is being packaged and mothballed to be put on display in a museum with other lost artifacts. That it has become part of our history, instead of our future. This summer, I saw things differently.
Through a program with Tucson Values Teachers and the University of Arizona, myself, along with other of Tucson’s Math and Science teachers had the privilege of being brought to Tucson’s industries to work side by side with scientists and engineers, working collaboratively, to build our future.
Who are these teachers? I have the privilege of being one. My career is a Math and Science teacher at Presidio School, one of the fine charter schools in Tucson.
The University of Arizona does recruitment and evaluation processes to get teachers into businesses whose success depends on science and engineering. Many companies, such as Raytheon and Tucson Electric, stepped up to include teachers in what they do. I was selected to work with Paragon Space Development Corporation. It is a locally owned small business that provides environmental controls for extreme and hazardous environments, such as space.
Companies like Paragon could have easily had us come in a few days over the summer to shadow an engineer or two, but the program was designed to have us not only spend our entire summer involved with the company, but doing real tasks—collaborator ting with engineers and not just watching passively.
Working with Paragon, allowed me to do real rocket science with real rocket scientists. Paragon is a hard charging company with an adventuresome spirit that was formed by Biospherians and Space scientists and engineers who wanted to change the future by creating life support that would allow humans to expand beyond their limits. They are working with other companies on making the American space program thrive again. Like Paragon, like the rest of the companies that were involved in this summer internship, also know that the future needs scientifically minded and mathematically oriented work force to continue on their path. As teachers, we know that students in the classrooms today are the scientists, engineers, and astronauts of tomorrow.
Many schools start in the coming weeks, so I will be switching back to my teacher hat. But I will have a newer and more exciting approach to teaching my students. I will not only bring my teaching experience to the classroom, but also that of a scientist and engineer. I know my students will benefit from really using the math, science, and technology that will be important in the future.
Students are coming into a world that asks more from them in the fields of Science and Math than ever before. The real opportunities for personal success are going to be areas where they create, discover and invent the future. By using skills more geared toward this century, students get glimpses of the future. My hope is that now they will be a little more aware and mindful of how they can fit into that future.
Scott Weiler is a math & science teacher at Presidio School and has six years experience teaching, including a year in South Korea. He is a gradute of University High School, and has a B.A. from Lousiana State University. He got his teaching certificate from Pima Community College.